Meet the Dolphin Safari Team

Everyone on the Dolphin Safari team is very special to us and each person contributes to the sense of family we have and friendliness we love to share. 

 

Dolphin Safari Captains

CAPT. TOM
Captain Tom

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?

Was a Navy Brat and lived out on the East Cost for a couple years. While out there did a trip from Virginia to California on a converted school bus to sand blast a friends seaplane.

What do you love most about your job?
I love being out on the ocean and witnessing the animals out there. Just amazing to witness all that is out there.

Where are you from originally?
San Francisco, California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
Orca

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
Three years ago was out on Dolphinsafari.com with the blue whales. Had a small group of only about 6 aboard and just parked the boat and the blue whales kept coming right up to the boat and fluking about 10 ft in front.  It was calm and beautiful out, a perfect day.

 

CAPT. CHUCK
Captain Chuck

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
Grandfather is John V. Atanasoff, the father of the computer.  He invented the first electronic digital computer in the 1930s.

What do you love most about your job?
I love being out on the water with the animals.

Where are you from originally?
Boulder, Colorado

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
Spotted Dolphin

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
When we had the 2 gray whales come right up and they would blow about 30-40 times right next to boat.

 

CAPT. MARIE
First Mate Marie

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I was a professional lady angler in Florida for two years in the 1980’s. I used to get severely seasick every weekend, and swore I would never go out another weekend on a boat, but I kept doing it and I outgrew it after two long years . I held I.G.F.A. record “International Game Fish Association ” 75lb Atlantic sailfish 8’3″. I never looked up to see if somebody broke my record. I also marinated and smoke the fish; was a bit gamy but it did not go to waste. From then on it was tag and release. I got and I.G.F.A. tag and release award for efforts of keeping the sailfish population and studying their migratory patterns. One of the sailfish I tagged in Fort Lauderdale was re-caught off the coast of Maine.

What do you love most about your job?
I love getting out on the ocean , I love working with all the great people that work at Capt. Dave’s and I love watching new people experiencing the wildlife.

Where are you from originally?
I am from Guilford, Connecticut. 

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
I would be a bottlenose dolphin.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
I was training on Dolphin Safari one day and first and only time I was on that boat up on the bridge with Chuck and Dale and we had a blue whale right next to the bow. It was just under the water, turquoise blue, he was just massive and beautiful.

 

Dolphin Safari Photographers and Crew

MARK
First Mate and Photographer Mark

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I like to write poetry.

What do you love most about your job?
I love being out on the ocean and with the animals.

Where are you from originally?
Born in Michigan, raised in Wisconsin.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
Humpback whale because they are gregarious and animated.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
First time seeing a blue whale is top and then seeing the huge pod of sperm whales.  Have so many, hard to pick one.

 


CRAIG

First Mate Craig

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
My wife and I have done Christian Mission work on the Pacific Islands of Yap and Falalop.

What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy the people I work with.

Where are you from originally?
Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
Dolphin because they always have family around.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
Being out on the boat seeing the huge pod of sperm whales.

 

Dolphin Deck Team

RANDI
Dolphin Deck Manager Randi

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I ran a memory care program for an assisted living facility in Florida.

What do you love most about your job?
Not only do I love meeting new people, but I love my coworkers.  The passion everyone has for their jobs, and what we do as a company is inspiring, which makes me love coming to work every day.  I learn something new every day.

Where are you from originally?
Southern California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
I would be a Gray Whale.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
My best Dolphin Safari experience is by far the first time I went into our underwater viewing pods to see the dolphins eye to eye. This was the first time nature actually took my breath away.

 

KIM
Dolphin Deck Team Member Kim

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I helped start & build my brother’s family roofing business. I worked there for 20 years. My mom & I actually roofed a house together. The company is still going strong.

What do you love most about your job?
Besides the awesome people I work with, I love all the different people I get to meet every day & see the smiles on their faces, especially when they come back and say what an amazing experience they had.

Where are you from originally?
Born in Orlando, FL., but raised in Westminster, CA.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
I would be a Dolphin, they are so smart & always seen like they are having fun.

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
Getting to bring my son on a trip to show him what an amazing company I’m a part of.

 

DARYN
Team Member Daryn in blue shirt at Dolphin Deck

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
After I graduated from college, I spent a few months in South Africa working on a shark cage diving boat and a whale watching boat.

What do you love most about your job?
I love who I work with and getting to go out on the boats all the time.

Where are you from originally
Yorba Linda, California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
I would probably be a humpback whale. They’re a little more playful than the other whales I’ve observed and that fits with my personality pretty well!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
About halfway through the summer, I was out on a trip after my shift on the Dolphin Deck and we saw a playful whale throwing peduncles. I’ve seen breaching and pectoral slaps but never peduncles!

 

Dolphin Safari Office Team

SHANNON
Account Manager Shannon

What do you love most about your job?
I moved to Orange County 18 years ago and have been working for Capt. Dave’s for almost 9 years, after applying to an ad in the Pennysaver. I feel blessed to work for an amazing company whose passion is to help these wonderful creatures and share them with the world in their their natural habitat. I love to hear from our passengers on how we have helped them have the most amazing experience of their life and  to be a part of their joy brings a smile to my face every day.

Where are you from originally?
Born in California, raised in the San Fernando Valley and was a complete “Valley Girl”, like totally.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
If I could be any cetacean of my choice, that’s what I would be… a dolphin!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
My best Dolphin Experience was when I was in the POD on Manute’a for the first time with my two girls, we were completely surrounded by Bottlenose Dolphins and could look them in the eyes. It absolutely brought tears to my eyes I was so excited and amazed and it is an experience I will never forget!

 

JACQUE
Dolphin Vector Art

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I love to play Super Mario Bros. video games.

What do you love most about your job?
The level of customer service we offer our customers.  The unique absolutely unforgettable experience we offer.

Where are you from originally?
The South

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
Blue Whale 

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
Watching my children help at the kids around the world packing event and listening to them speak about how they wanted to do more. It is such an amazing organization and my children left that event with an appreciation that they would have never had without Dave and Gisele sponsoring that event and getting their employees involved.

 

DENIELLE & ANNABELLE
Director of Hospitality Annabelle

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
D: I ran the charter department for a yacht brokerage and charter company in the harbor for 11 years.  Never had any clue we had so many blue whales off Dana Point until I started working here!
A: At night I like to curl up with my pink squeaky toy, like it’s a teddy bear.

What do you love most about your job?
D: Meeting passengers on the boat, some of whom have become good friends of mine, and photographing the amazing wildlife.
A: I love going on the boat and saying hello to everyone. They give me treats and belly rubs and it’s so much fun!

Where are you from originally?
D: Connecticut
A: I don’t know. I’m a rescue dog!

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
D: Humpback whale
A: Pacific White-sided dolphin because they’re black and white like me

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
D: Being “eye to eye” with Farley the fin whale in the Underwater Pod. Getting mugged by Buddy the blue whale was awesome too.
A: It’s a tie between the day Mrs. Capt. Dave found me on the side of the road and the day she brought me to the Dolphin Deck where I met the person who would give me a forever home.

 

VAL
Dolphin Safari Reservationist Val

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I’m a florist.

What do you love most about your job?
Happy and excited customers on vacation experiencing the ocean and animals, a lot for the first time.

Where are you from originally?
Illinois

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
Dolphin

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
The first time I went out on the ocean and was right next to the dolphins under the water in the viewing pod. They were looking right at me and I felt that strong connection everyone talks about.

 

JOY
Dolphin Safari Reservationist Joy

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I have a beautiful 22 year old daughter and handsome 5 year old son!

What do you love most about your job?
Speaking with all the customers that are so excited to see a whale and enjoy the experience of our trips!

Where are you from originally?
The South – Kentucky.

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
A killer whale

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
The first time I saw the Dolphin Deck several years ago and the uniqueness of the atmosphere and the politeness of all employees.  Everyone seemed to be extremely close and loved what they were doing.  It was so refreshing to see this in a company.  Then after taking the trip out and getting a Gisele brownie – I thought it doesn’t get any better than this!!

 

JILL
Dolphin Vector Art

Tell us something funny or interesting about yourself that no one would guess?
I was a translator in the Navy for 6 years.

What do you love most about your job?
I love hearing how excited people get when they book trips with us.

Where are you from originally?
Southern California

If you could be a cetacean, which animal would you be?
A dolphin – they always seem so carefree!

What is your best Dolphin Safari experience of all time?
Taking my kids out on Manute’a, and seeing how delighted and excited they were to watch all the dolphins swimming right next to the bow.

Meet Captain Dave and Mrs. Capt. Dave >